Water Bombers

Reporter: Cassie Silver

A little over a year ago we saw the force of mother-nature at its most terrifying this was Margaret River - wild fire engulfing homes and destroying lives in seconds. This is what fire-fighters are on watch for 24 hours a day. Brenton Davis is a pilot with HNZ Australia. They're our fire heroes in the sky. Brenton is one of seven pilots who take to the air every summer fighting the flames from above. "We have the aircraft primed and ready to go and we generally try and get the machine up within 5 minutes of a call"

In an emergency, the helitac takes off from Perth Airport, on the way to the fire-front it will find a lake, dam or river to hover over and fill up with 1 tonne of water on the way. The helitac can go where fire-fighters on the ground can't - right to the heart of a fire it hovers above and dumps the water a thousand litres pouring out in just 3 seconds - "If you were in a sedan sitting there and we dropped a thousand L of water on your roof it would be denting the roof"

Chris Arnol from FESA says we can expect a hot and dry summer; the grim warning is the fire risk is above average and looks like it's starting early. "It's always bad but this is particularly bad this season we need to be aware of that and we need to prepare now" With fires on the radar, FESA says it'll be looking to the sky this summer. The helitac has special permission to draw water from almost anywhere... it means the massive machine flies low, a spectacle for on-lookers but this show comes with a warning. FESA hopes that the onlookers take away more than just photos from this encounter - it should be a reminder of the power and danger of fire - and everyone can help fight the threat before it even begins.

To prepare your home ahead of the fire season, FESA recommends a minimum clearance of 20m around your house, get rid of any leaves or twigs anything smaller than a pencil size has got to go, if you've got a wood heap remove that from your house and for those in country areas look at the fire break notices

Further Details

www.fesa.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/Pages/default.aspx